Remember the good old days when your little one would more or less lie still and let you take care of their business in peace? Those days are long gone, traded instead for writhing, tantrums, and opinionated expressions of independence. Something as simple as applying sunblock can become an all-out battle of wills, and ain't nobody got time for that. So knowing the best way to apply sunscreen to a toddler that won't result in World War III is pretty important for everyone involved.
According to pediatric dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse out of Beverly Hills, the trick to getting your toddler to cooperate with sunscreen application is to make it fun. While you may be ready to zip through it and move on to whatever fun outing is on the schedule, your tot is only able to live in the present. And the present will include less headaches for you if you make sunscreen fun.
In an interview with Romper, Shainhouse suggests using a sunscreen stick on little faces to avoid getting it in their eyes and listening to blood curdling screams. After you're done, give it to your tot to color on his own body and watch his mind be blown (you can even find the sticks in hues other than white). Of course, you'll have to go back over the spots he's missed. Come to think of it, you might want to go ahead and buy two sticks.
Already have sunscreen that's not in stick form? No need to dismay, Shainhouse has suggestions for you, too. If you're using the standard style lotion, simply make a game of it for your child, singing silly songs about the body part you're slathering and encouraging her to join in. Most toddlers enjoy the feel of slippery ointment on their little bodies and will likely want to join in the application process. There's no reason to stop them.
Also, Shainhouse reminds parents, it's important to remember to apply the sunscreen before heading outside. Not only does it need 15 minutes to absorb into the skin, but toddlers will likely be more willing to let you apply it at home than they will when they're standing before water to splash in or a playground to climb on. And obviously, they'll be so thankful you made sunscreen fun that they'll be perfect little angels for the rest of the day. Ahem.